Mexico. The land of sunshine, good food and music. But ripe and flooded with crime. News reports of Bad Stuff happening in Mexico is all over the place. We ourselves travel with our 3 small children (aged 2, 4 and 6 and one with Down syndrome) for months out of every year, and have done so for the past 4 years.
We think we have an idea as to why exactly you wouldn't want to take your kids to Mexico. If you travel around Mexico with your kids, you are in danger of them:
1. Making Friends
Traveling around Mexico, your kids are almost guaranteed to make friends. Lots of them.
And those friends will speak languages other than your own, will hail from cultures different from yours.
2. Learning About Different Places
When you travel, you learn. Traveling around Mexico and your kids will learn first hand about the pyramids of Teotihuacan, about coastal sea life, water, desert ecosystems, elevation hazards, mountain life and indigenous cultures.
Try as you might, there is simply no way around it.
3. Appreciating Real Food
If you travel around Mexico, your kids are likely to become adventurous food eaters and potentially, food lovers.
They will develop an appetite for fresh, unprocessed foods.
4. Learn Spanish
Kids are like the proverbial sponges.
They soak up what's around them, and if that happens to be the Spanish language, they'll soak up Spanish.
Micah, aged 6, is well on his way to being proficient and Moxie (who has Down syndrome) and Mac-Q both know about as much Spanish as they do English.
Mexico has a plethora of colorful, handmade clothes that kids can enjoy wearing and dressing up in. Does your daughter want to be a princess like mine does? Mine can wear beautiful skirts, dresses, sashes, and woven shirts on a daily basis and not be "weird". So too, can my sons, and as a result, they are all much more engaged in the care and assemblage of their wardrobes.
Traveling in Mexico is a long lesson in mariachi and banda. The kids develop an appreciation for the musical forms -- they think the accordion is cool. They also savor music that isn't mainstream USA -- which opens the doors to even broader musical experiences.
So much in Mexico is laid back, with different time schedules and ways in which things work.
Kids learn to relax and just have fun here. They learn to chill out and not sweat the small stuff
Is it unavoidable? No.
You probably could avoid it.
...but why would you want to?!
People bargain in Mexico -- and by traveling and bargaining with you, your kids also learn. They also learn how to assess situations, how to be careful when they need to be, how to be friendly without divulging too much information.
With a gun crime rate for the entire country of Mexico that's about the same as that of the city of Phoenix, Arizona, visiting Mexico is less dangerous for the average American than visiting New York City, Washington DC or Miami. And with the additional dangers of making friends, learning languages, cultures, and developing an appreciation for music and real food to boot, we can well understand why you would want to keep your child away.
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